31 Facts About Fritz Lang


Friedrich Christian Anton Lang, known as Fritz Lang, was an Austrian film director, screenwriter, and producer who worked in Germany and later the United States.


Fritz Lang has been cited as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time.


Fritz Lang became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1939.


Fritz Lang's mother was born Jewish and converted to Catholicism.


Ultimately describing himself as an atheist, Fritz Lang believed that religion was important for teaching ethics.


Fritz Lang left Vienna in 1910 in order to see the world, traveling throughout Europe and Africa, and later Asia and the Pacific area.


At the outbreak of World War I, Fritz Lang returned to Vienna and volunteered for military service in the Austrian army and fought in Russia and Romania, where he was wounded four times and lost sight in his right eye, the first of many vision issues he would face in his lifetime.

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Fritz Lang was discharged from the army with the rank of lieutenant in 1918 and did some acting in the Viennese theater circuit for a short time before being hired as a writer at Decla Film, Erich Pommer's Berlin-based production company.


Fritz Lang's writing stint was brief, as he soon started to work as a director at the German film studio UFA, and later Nero-Film, just as the Expressionist movement was building.


In 1920, Fritz Lang met his future wife, the writer Thea von Harbou.


Fritz Lang's first "talking" picture, considered by many film scholars to be a masterpiece of the early sound era, M is a disturbing story of a child murderer who is hunted down and brought to rough justice by Berlin's criminal underworld.


Fritz Lang, who was known for being hard to work with, epitomized the stereotype of the tyrannical Germanic film director, a type embodied by Erich von Stroheim and Otto Preminger; Fritz Lang wore a monocle, adding to the stereotype.


Testament is sometimes deemed an anti-Nazi film, as Fritz Lang had put phrases used by the Nazis into the mouth of the title character.


Fritz Lang was worried about the advent of the Nazi regime, partly because of his Jewish heritage, whereas his wife and co-screenwriter Thea von Harbou had started to sympathize with the Nazis in the early 1930s, and later joined the NSDAP in 1940.


Fritz Lang's fears would be realized following his departure from Austria, as under the Nuremberg Laws he would be identified as half-Jewish by ethnicity even though his mother was a converted Roman Catholic, and he was raised as such.


Fritz Lang claimed that, after selling his wife's jewelry, he fled by train to Paris that evening, leaving most of his money and personal possessions behind.


Fritz Lang left Berlin for good on July 31,1933, four months after his meeting with Goebbels and his initial departure.


Fritz Lang moved to Paris, having divorced Thea von Harbou, who stayed behind, earlier in 1933.


In Paris, Fritz Lang filmed a version of Ferenc Molnar's Liliom, starring Charles Boyer.


Fritz Lang made twenty-three features in his 20-year American career, working in a variety of genres at every major studio in Hollywood, and occasionally producing his films as an independent.


Fritz Lang became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1939.


One of Fritz Lang's most praised films noir is the police drama The Big Heat, known for its uncompromising brutality, especially for a scene in which Lee Marvin throws scalding coffee on Gloria Grahame's face.


The German producer Artur Brauner had expressed interest in remaking The Indian Tomb, so Fritz Lang returned to Germany to make his "Indian Epic".


The result was The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse, whose success led to a series of new Mabuse films, which were produced by Brauner, though Fritz Lang did not direct any of the sequels.


Fritz Lang was approaching blindness during the production, and it was his final project as director.

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On February 8,1960, Fritz Lang received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion picture industry, located at 1600 Vine Street.


Fritz Lang died from a stroke on August 2,1976 and was interred in the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.


Fritz Lang is credited with launching or developing many different genres of film.


Philip French of The Observer believed that Fritz Lang helped craft the "entertainment war flick" and that his interpretation of the story of Bonnie and Clyde "helped launch the Hollywood film noir".


In December 2021 Fritz Lang was the subject for BBC Radio 4's In Our Time.


The Academy Film Archive has preserved a number of Fritz Lang's films, including Human Desire and Man Hunt.